This Idiot’s Guide to Clickbait

August 3, 2015

Not long ago I installed the Downworthy plugin in my browser. It “translates” those hyperbolic, viral, clickbaity headlines you see on about 87 percent of the web pages you browse and it will restore you faith in humanity.

However, within about two hours I turned it off. Although it’s clever and what it did was breathtaking, I was getting too confused (my problem not, the plugin’s). It tossed me a headline that it had altered – something like “What this Cat Did at the End of the Video is Pretty Commonplace” – and suddenly the Internet environment I thought I knew, no longer existed.

This will make you rethink

It was sort of like putting on a pair of glasses that turns everything upside down. At first they totally blow your mind, but eventually, for some scientific reason, you adjust. I just didn’t have the time on that particular day to make the mental adjustment.

However, it made me more sensitive to clickbait and I eventually started to think of shocking ways I could use clickbait to my advantage. Of course we all want to create blogs, headlines, graphics, podcasts or videos that go viral, and leveraging clickbait seemed like the way to go.

I finally realized that I was suffering from click envy, but fortunately I discovered that I already had the cure for this terrifying and pernicious ailment.

I ghost write for quite a few epic figures in the business and online world and I have discussed prospects and sales funnels more times than I can count. I decided to look at using clickbait in light of prospecting, bringing visitors to your site and conversion.

This is what they don’t want you to see

Here’s the rock solid truth, the one weird trick, the First Commandment of creating content to draw traffic to your site: Publish content that will attract qualified prospects. The number of visitors you attract is infinitely less important than the quality of the visitors you attract. If you pull in 500 visitors a day whose main interest is Kim Kardashian’s caboose but you sell speed reading systems – Whoah! – you’re wasting your time.

Frankly, this simple lesson stretches further than the clickbait world. I just heard about a guy who produces videos. He filled his website’s blog with cool posts about lenses and other technical subjects that relate to video production, but you won’t believe what happened next! He created great content, but not content his prospects would be interested in; it’s content that would “wow” his competitors.

This is what happens next: He sits there looking at his analytics thinking, “This is great. A lot of people read my new post on the new Nikkor 310mm lens!” but then wonders why inquiries aren’t picking up.

Nothing can prepare you for what happens next

With all of this said, why, then do we see so much clickbait across the Internet? The fact is that clickbait does have a place. If you are only interested in bringing eyeballs to ads, then clickbait is a tried-and-true way to accomplish your goal. When your business model is built around ad sales, rather than product or service sales, then using clickbait can make perfect sense.

It’s still unimaginable, I mean annoying to most of us, but at least it’s doing its job.

So there you have it, my Awesome Guide to Clickbait that Will Totally Blow Your Mind!

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